Learning Cyber Hygiene through Esoteric Cosmology

Sam Mercaldo

Learning Cyber Hygiene Through the Esoteric Cosmology of the Onmyōji

The onmyōji of ancient Japan were practitioners of magic. The onmyōji were a part of the Imperial bureaucracy in Japan. According to records, they defended the empire against malicious spirits and unseen attacks. Modern cyber warriors who fight in cyber space bear much similarity with the onmyōji who fought their enemies in the spirit realm. In fact, there are many things that cyber warriors can learn from the onmyōji to improve their cyber hygiene.

Always on the Guard

A cybersecurity expert is always on guard against virus, malware, computer worms… etc. These are unseen threats that mainly aim to steal data and information from their employer. In close comparison, the onmyōji were share certain traits to cybersecurity experts. They had to guard against shikigami, small invisible spirits created by enemy onmyōji. These spirits sought to steal information from their daimyō (feudal lord) by listening to their conversations. To guard against this, the onmyōji would perform a series of complex rituals to ward against enemy spirits.

Modern day cybersecurity likewise have a series of rituals, or habits, that they can teach to their employers and fellow employees to ward against cyber threats. This is called cyber hygiene. Cyber hygiene is simply steps and practices that users can use to provide themselves that extra protection against cyber threats. Unlike onmyōji rituals, cyber hygiene doesn’t involve smoke or loud shouting.


The first thing that you can do is regularly change your passwords. You might be surprised how many users still use simple and easy to guess passwords. Use long passwords combining numbers and symbols. Additionally, do not use “123456” when setting up your login account.

Phishing Email

Another area in which you can educate your work mates on is phishing emails. Phishing emails pretend to be from an official source to extort money. Unfortunately, most people are genuinely unaware of how phishing emails work.  Train them to spot the red flags like obvious grammar mistakes and mismatching URLS.

Empower Others to Practice Cyber Hygiene

Be a resource for everyone, so that they can feel comfortable coming to you if they get a strange email or pop up. Additionally, remember that cyber hygiene is not on everyone’s mind. People will make mistakes. Therefore, be sure to regularly back up your company’s data on external drives and the cloud. That way, your network will not lost all data.

Like modern day cybersecurity experts, the ancient onmyōji of Japan practiced a regimented routine in order to prevent their secrets and the secrets of their daimyō from being stolen by their enemies. Although you certainly do not live in a myth and do not practice magic, like all good stories, the tales of the onmyōji have life lessons which are applicable today.

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